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APARTMENT LIVING: Highs and lows

Posted on Saturday, November 10, 2018 in Flat Chat

About 15 years ago my partner Sue and I bought a new apartment off the plan and had a truly hellish time with corrupt committee members, self-serving building managers, incompetent strata managers, rapacious developers, mendacious attack-dog lawyers and neighbours who refused to help but then were quick to point the finger when things went wrong.

Our saving grace was that we are both authors and journalists and we decided to write a book about it to warn other people about the pitfalls.

That was Apartment Living which was published by ABC books. From it came my weekly Flat Chat column, first in the Sydney Morning Herald, now in the Australian Financial Review, which has now been going for 15 years, and from that came the Flat Chat website which offers advice and empathy to the tens of thousands of others who are struggling with the new realities of strata living.

I also turn up once a month on the James Valentine show on ABC radio 702 to talk about apartments and answer questions Title screen shotfrom listeners and I frequently get asked to speak at conferences and seminars.

If you were wondering, that’s why this website is called The Accidental Guru.  I never set  out to be an expert on strata living but, hey, if no one else was going to do it, it might as well be me.

In 2014 Sue and I launched a magazine called Title, promoting the positive aspects of apartment living. The website is still going strong although the realities of the print market, the vagaries of advertising and the cost of distribution have overwhelmed its physical incarnation.


Bring on the comments

  1. David Walker says:

    Hi Jimmy
    just read your and Sue’s podcast with John Minns. I’m the Secretary of a large Sydney CBD strata (161 lots) and we have raised some serious concerns about the NSW STRA register – it basically facilitates illegal short term letting activity. I’ve written to the Minister and Department explaining the problem (you can register even if STRA is not legal) – I asked they cancel the illegal registration. I have been fobbed off with a standard generic response.
    I’d really like to talk with you about how to get the NSW govt to do its job and run a lawful and sensible register. We have complained about breaches of the Code of Conduct and been similarly fobbed off. We are currently in NCAT to try and get an order for the owner operating illegally to stop.
    The Sydney City Council is on side, and taking their own action – they too are very frustrated (I’m sure as you know).
    I used to be a Federal government Regulator so I know how to run a legal and meaningful regulatory system!
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    best regards

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